European shares fell on Friday as global sentiment soured after Beijing ordered United States to close its consulate in a Chinese city in retaliation to similar action from Washington.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 1.5 per cent, on track for its biggest one-day drop in a month, pushing it into losses for the week.

The Iseq All-Share index in Dublin fell further, dropping by 1.9 per cent by 8:30am. Housebuilders and banks were among losers, reversing gains made earlier in the week.

Technology stocks

On the wider Stoxx index, technology stocks led losses following a sell-off in US peers overnight, while the China-sensitive basic materials sector lost 1.9 per cent.

British Gas owner Centrica surged 30 per cent to top the Stoxx 600, despite posting lower first-half earnings as it announced plans to sell its North American business Direct Energy to NRG Energy for $3.63 billion.

Norwegian energy company Equinor rose 0.5 per cent after reporting an 89 per cent drop in operating profit, while analysts had expected a loss.

The world’s biggest lighting maker, Signify jumped 4.5 per cent after a 62 per cent jump in second-quarter net profit, and on plans to pay down €350 milllion in debt this year. – Reuters



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